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Woman awarded $10K in lawsuit over forced Windows 10 upgrade

Woman awarded $10K in lawsuit over forced Windows 10 upgrade

It's no secret that Microsoft wants users to upgrade to Windows 10. In anticipation of the big Windows 10 Anniversary Update this summer, the company has made some questionable marketing decisions to push users in the right direction.

First, Microsoft announced that the Windows 10 upgrade would only be free until July 29 - after that, it would cost $119. (Click here for more details on the deadline and fee.) Then, the company made the Windows 10 upgrade a "Recommended Update" for older versions of Windows. This change meant that your system would update to Windows 10 automatically, unless you stopped it. If you don't want this automatic update, click here for instructions on how to stop it.

Now, it seems that Microsoft's big upgrade push may have officially crossed the line. A California woman has been awarded $10,000 from Microsoft for an unauthorized upgrade to Windows 10. Teri Goldstein won the judgement after taking the tech giant to small claims court earlier this year, saying Windows 10 crippled her work computer.

Goldstein owns a travel agency and argued that the automatic upgrade from Windows 7 kept failing and caused her system to continuously crash and under-perform. Goldstein had to spend days restoring files and the system would not recognize her external hard drive. She says she had to use multi-step workarounds every day just to log on and was not able to fully operate her business. The travel agency lost revenue when customers canceled bookings because Goldstein couldn't get to their emails due to the crippled computer. The problems went on for months during the agency's busy season.

Goldstein tried working with Microsoft's technical support team to fix the problems. She says one customer service representative was very rude and eventually said do not ever contact me again. She ended up filing the lawsuit after they couldn't resolve the issues. Goldstein claimed a loss of $17,000 from expenses and lost business due to the failed upgrade.

Microsoft decided not to send an attorney to court to represent them, instead they sent someone from a local retail store. Goldstein argued in court that the forced upgrade was non-consensual, which caused her business to lose money. Microsoft decided to drop their appeal in the case so they wouldn't rack up more litigation costs. Goldstein was awarded the maximum judgement of $10,000 to cover lost compensation along with a new computer system.

Many users have been unhappy with changes to Windows 10 upgrade policy. Customers were originally asked to reserve a copy of the upgrade before the new operating system was launched. Eventually Microsoft announced an automatic upgrade would be forced onto all eligible computers. Angry users even started a petition asking the Electronic Frontier Foundation to investigate the situation.

Microsoft responded by modifying its policies. The company says it has added another notification confirming the scheduled upgrade. A customer now has the opportunity to cancel or reschedule the upgrade when they get that notification.

Goldstein says corporations need to be held accountable for their actions. She is asking anyone who has suffered a loss of time or money from the forced upgrade to contact her so she can let them know about her experience and their rights.

The good news is, if Windows 10 was automatically installed on your computer, there is a way to go back to an older version. Click here for step-by-step instructions and screenshots.

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